Armed with tough computer chips, scientists are ready to return to the hell of Venus

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CLEVELAND, OHIO—In an underdog city, at an underdog NASA lab, researchers are thinking hard about an undeservedly neglected planet. Venus is Earth’s cousin, closest in composition and size, but for decades it has remained veiled. NASA hasn’t sent a mission there since 1989; more recent European and Japanese orbiters have made halting progress that stops largely at the planet’s thick sulfur clouds. No craft has touched down since 1985, when the last of a series of advanced Soviet landers clad in armored pressure vessels endured a couple hours before succumbing to the deep-ocean pressure and furnacelike temperature of the planet’s surface. The baleful conditions and lack of funding have made Venus, Earth’s closest neighbor, feel more distant than ever. That is, except here.

Read Article:  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/11/armed-tough-computer-chips-scientists-are-ready-return-hell-venus

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A fascinating article about a new satellite which will greatly improve weather predictions.

 

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In the wee hours of Saturday, a fastidiously clean scanning machine named VIIRS launched into orbit on a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, just one instrument outfitting a next-generation weather satellite. The Visible Infrared Radiometer Suite is a washing machine-sized sensor, built to capture light and other waves that bounce off the surface of Earth. It collects those reflections, turning them into data about our planet, the oceans, land and vegetation cover, ice caps, volcanic plumes, and global temperatures—allowing accurate weather forecasts, wildfire and fishing fleet tracking, and climate monitoring.

Read Article:  https://www.wired.com/story/nasa-noaa-jpss-next-gen-satellite-will-scan-for-storms-like-never-before/